Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Few Housekeeping Rules

Hi everyone--just a post on a few housekeeping rules for this blog. As many of you know, I do not like to delete or block commenters here but do so on occassion and will do so more readily if comments disinegrate into insults. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) there are just a few commenters who try to ruin threads for everyone. The majority of you are thoughtful, kind, provocative and downright humorous. This blog is meant to be a place where people can feel free to share their opinions and thoughts that may not be politically correct and of course, for disagreement but--please--do so in a civil fashion.

In addition, many of you email me with links and articles that I very much appreciate. If I post on the topic, I will typically give a hat tip to "a reader" or use the reader's first name only or sometimes the commenter's name if I pick up a commenter's link or comment in a thread. I usually do not use full names unless someone has a blog already and I link to it, uses their full name online anyway or tells me to use their name. Some of you have written me and told me never to use your name first or otherwise, others have wondered why I did not post their full name and still others don't send any name at all. Please specify in your email what you wish but by defalt, you will be called a "reader."

And now, a warning--believe it or not, I am not following every thread in this blog 24/7--so these threads are not always monitored nor do I wish to spend all of my time this way. As I assume commenters here are adults who can handle themselves without intervention, I try not to interfere too much. That includes responding to requests in the posts for some kind of "debate." I have no problem answering questions if I feel they are asked in good faith and I have something to add. However, those commenters who come on in a snarky fashion and think that I am somehow required to respond to every fascinating insult they care to throw out need to get their own platform.

Finally, I have had many complaints about the confusion that anonymous commenters are causing on threads, particularly those with more comments. I can typically tell people apart but it gets hard after awhile and obviously, the anonymous option gives many of those with less then decent intentions a way to insult and annoy others. There are upsides to the anonymous option, however, which includes those of you who work in certain jobs and settings who want to share your views but do not want to be identified in any way. This is perfectly understandable. So I leave it to the readers here to leave a comment and let me know what you think of the anonymous option. Remember that blogger would require all to register should that option be restricted--and this may cause some very fine people not to post. Thanks in advance for any input or suggestions you might have.


Blogger TMink said...

Helen, I signed up for another blogger/goggle account as an experiment. It took less than 3 minutes, and there is nothing that is not work safe or less than anon about the process. I think the fears of signing up will be settled when folks actually give it a try.

Some of the anons are wonderful and make great, thoughtful, or funny posts. Some are personailty disordered jerks. Lately, the latter has predominated. My feeling is that the recent anon infestation has been about disrupting the blog and the posters. The same thing happened over at Althouse, and she went to denying anonymous posting.

I think that you will end up there, and I have mixed feelings about it. Myself, I would prefer the moronic anon posting to stop. It adds nothing, and I feel that some of the really misogynistic posts lately have not been genuine but just week attempts to snare some snarky, anti-women posts.

Having said that, it is your blog, and it pains me to think that "insurgent" posters would make you change your policy. I do wonder where the recent influx comes from and how organized it is. And I wonder what their motivation is. Do they just enjoy being rude? Are they trying to accomplish something like they were on Althouse where they were trying to disrupt the blog because some people want to silence her politics? Honestly, they seem to be left leaning, are they sent here from a nother blog? Who knows!

I had some discussion with one of the previous batch of anons who were enjoying trying to bother and harass me off the board. After a little back and forth, she appologized. Sadly, I think she does not post as much here, and she had things to add.

So I support your running your excellent blog in the way you see fit. But I think you will end up stopping anon comments, and I think the blog will be the better for it.


10:17 AM, June 13, 2007  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

You know what I think: while I understand the benefits, I think they're outweighed in any popular or contentious topic by the problems.

However, I do very much appreciate your conscientious hat-tipping ethics. It was an odd but pleasant/amusing thing to find a quote which included a hat-tip to me, on Ace of Spades last week.

10:25 AM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I have my own blog and not a blogger account, I can understand wanting to keep the anonymous option.

Unfortunately trolls have been with us since the dawn of the internet, and some tell me that letters to the editor of newspapers used to deal with that sort of thing as well.

I suppose it's best to be cognizant of their existence and keep the rule handy: Don't Feed the Trolls.

10:28 AM, June 13, 2007  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

Erm. I meant, a quote from you which included...

Oy, my brain sans caffeine...

10:30 AM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ANON option is easy enough for me.
I simply ignore ALL such entries as
vandalism. It saves my time.Quite frankly, I can't be bothered to extrapolate who's who amongst ANON entries.

Admittedly, the baby goes out with the bathwater.

The "other" function, or SOME sort of signature included in an ANON post, (beyond the time stamp) is suitable if I were king.


10:33 AM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I obviously like the anon. option. Perhaps it wouldn't be that difficult to do otherwise if I tried it, but while I am a SF writer, I'm somewhat techphobic as well.

Consistency? I've heard its a word in the dictionary.

And I always sign mine as ...


10:57 AM, June 13, 2007  
Blogger SFN said...

Google IDs are anonymous for our purposes, it's just a consistent handle. It shouldn't impact anybody negatively in terms of work or whatever.

You'll definitely lose some good comments with the bad, though - people don't realize it's easy, and they're not going to register somewhere to post one comment.

11:38 AM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog. Do what you think best.

11:50 AM, June 13, 2007  
Blogger TMink said...

Tennwriter, if you felt besmirched by my comments in any fashion, I humbly appologize. The Tennwriter is enough for me to recognize your posts, and they are always polite and worth reading.


12:03 PM, June 13, 2007  
Blogger Danny said...

While I sometimes likehaving the Anon option, I realise that it can cause a lot of problems. It allows people with ill intent to ruin a forum. So, I'd vote for you to get rid of the Anon option. I used to moderate a fountain pen collectors forum, and the owner of the forum was a big believer in "openness",and for a longtime he resisted registration. However, the Board was almost destroyed becase of that decision. Allowing anonymous posts nowadays are nothing but an invitation for trouble.

12:11 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sincerest apologies if my feeding the trolls helped create the problem.

Bad Dogwood, bad!

12:12 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well there are those of us that post from work, on break or whatever, that cannot by policy have something like a google account... I still send the kind Doc emails from a real address [waves, er, sorry for the mess - David] but if anon goes, then I can't really post... which is OK, really, my POV is only the voice of one... being outweighed by trolls is just a risk you take. I must congratulate Dr. Helen, on keeping this open for so long. If she continues on the difficult path of keeping the comments open, I believe personally that is to the good. Trolls are that way because they will suffer no rival for their views, and are willing to push that idea to the extreme. If they can't win, they would rather have silence.

Even if you required everyone to have a handle, there is nothing preventing a troll from getting one... or many.
I wish you the best of luck with a tough decision...
- David

12:14 PM, June 13, 2007  
Blogger Michele said...

Anon is a good idea for folks who can't do the google thing from work. Those folks will probably just sign their post at the bottom. All those snarky people can get creative and sign with a name too. Posting under "Anonymous" isn't any more anonymous than signing your name "Woman of Abomination" or some such. That way we know how to address said abominable person.

12:20 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TO: Dr. Helen
RE: Anonymity

"So I leave it to the readers here to leave a comment and let me know what you think of the anonymous option." -- Dr. Helen

I counsel AGAINST anonymity.

Let them choose the OTHER option and put in a nom des blogs. That should be anonymity enough to protect them at their workplace and from any cyber-stalkers.

In the meantime, it allows others to specifically address our replies to their comments. And that alone should streamline discussion.


[Consistency is the hobgoblin of good user interfaces.]

12:21 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TO: Dr. Helen
RE: Drop Blogger

"Remember that blogger would require all to register should that option [Anonymous] be restricted--and this may cause some very fine people not to post." -- Dr. Helen

I recommend moving to Expression Engine. Much more powerful not nearly as restrictive as Blogger; unless you design it to be so.

You can have a basic operation going in about one hour of set-up time. Putting in the BlogAds will take a little more, but I suspect that you and the InstaPundit make enough to have someone design you a really stellar site.


[This site has been moved. We'd tell you where, but then we'd; have to delete you. - Haiku Error Msg]

12:32 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for having the guts to tolerate anonymous posting. The rancor against anonymous posting is pretty strange - it must be the same people that keep watching or listening to a radio or TV show they find offensive and then complaining about it rather than turning it off.

12:49 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stumbled into this blog on my lunch hour going through Instapundit. Out of curiosity on libertarianism and what they stands for, which in my view, Glenn makes a positive presentation reflecting his views. While I haven't seen your podcast with Glenn Reynolds, I'd look forward to it.

As this is the only post I intend to leave, it won't hurt my feelings if you comment on my choice of Anonymous moniker after I leave.

After cursory reads on some of the blog comments and posts, I am not quite sure what this blog's theme is or subject matter material criteria are (other than repeating certain MSN or MSNBC Home threads). For instance, the comment on Leering doesn't quite fit into pop culture or media. Not sure of its application to men's issues either. In fact, with sexual harassment and other discriminatory awareness and trainings across public and private sectors, along with the scrutiny on morales and First Spouses anticipating the election year, my sense is that the comments here by Dr. Helen on Fred Thompson's Leering is out of place, and not quite advancing men's issues. At the same time, not quite sure if there's a psychological thread embedded in the comment either, or is this not exactly a "Dr. Phil" type of blog.

Issues of discrimination and harassment are career killers, given "leering" of any kind are strictly prohibited at work.

Last, but not least, as in every blog, you're going to have your frequenters and other "trolls" either instigating or possibly "stirring the pot" among the frequenters. Instapundit sort of mixes things up a bit, opens up the spectrum of topics and views and broadening your scope. That's why I enjoy it so much. Here, I'd have to say it seems quite narrow and has a men-leaning bent to it, which is all very well, except it's being led by a forensic scientist libertarian who's egging us on to leer, pitting men and women issues against each other in a men-friendly forum. While it may be nice to hear good things said about and for us white men for a change, again, it just feels a little weird to have a female doctor forensic scientist leading the "hype" on... I've got to admit this isn't quite what I was expecting from Glenn Reynolds, recognizing this isn't a replica of instapundit or affiliated in any way. It feels a bit like reverse psychology played on us.

I'm more a Post fan, than an MSN fan, and always thought MSN targeted a female market. Again, making it a bit weird to have a men's issues take on articles and subjects posted on MSN, which likely caters to the female market. If this is just all a joke or satire that I missed, I didn't mean to waste your time. I stumbled into this via instapundit, and like Seinfeld, thought I fell into bizarro world.

1:00 PM, June 13, 2007  
Blogger TMink said...

Anon, the rancor is not against anon posting per se, but disruptive posting which causes problems in this online community.

It is not the lack of a name, it is the lack of respect for others.

Thanks for the thoughtful post. I hope my response helped you understand the issue.


1:02 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and the blog comparing monitoring who does Porn to monitoring who goes to the abortion clinic is bizarre. Is this what libertarianism is about? Equating the privacy of porn to abortion? Not sure you can put porn and abortion in the same category whether you agree with either, or neither, or both.

1:07 PM, June 13, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

I don't understand the big deal about a moniker. Not like my name's Oligonicella.

1:58 PM, June 13, 2007  
Blogger TMink said...

Anon wrote: "Is this what libertarianism is about?"

Are you asking a question or trying to make a point?


2:08 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the only blog at which I post anonymously. The reason is that the discussions tend to center on deeply personal issues that I don't want to drag my family into.

And yet I understand why you might want to lose the anonymous posters: The shield of anonymity clearly brings out the worst in some people. It's a Jekyll-and-Hyde thing.

I can live with having to use a pseudonym.

2:15 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I already have to remember too many UserID/Password combinations for work: different systems and different locations and different access levels. Very reluctant to have anymore logins. Sorry my laziness makes more work for readers.

I expect work to get really busy again next month, and I won't have this reading/learning time.

2:16 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sofasleeper said...

This is the only blog at which I post anonymously. The reason is that the discussions tend to center on deeply personal issues that I don't want to drag my family into.

This is a weird psycho-analysis blog with an even weirder shrink inducing angst in men and analyzing men's angst or how things are stacked against us men.

2:21 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:00 PM ANON SAID......

except it's being led by a forensic scientist libertarian who's egging us on to leer

Yeah, I've yet to have a woman tell me I need to cherich and protect my right to leer. Yeah, it is bizarro.

2:24 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do think anonymous can be confusing and makes it more difficult to follow a thread. I need to preserve some semblance of anonymity myself, but I just don't blog or comment under my real name. That seems to take care of the issue.

2:26 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just lazy and a fear of committment, amigo, you know?

Yeah, and with the Doc checking and analyzing you up and down, makes you feel a little naked, in a bad way, not a turn on, get the drift?

2:27 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like creepy, you know?

2:29 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out the forensic profiling below on DRHELEN READERS, kinda like making you into a lab animal for testing....what other blog you know does this kind of page after page of reports on you...

2:31 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Makes you feel like some kind of test subject or experimental rat

2:33 PM, June 13, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

Anonymous 1:00 PM:

You sound like the twit who left a bunch of messages over at Michael Silences's blog about my Fred Thompson posts. You make no sense whatsoever, misinterpret this blog and connect my husband to my blog--like he is an appendage rather than a freethinker and vice versa for myself. Please do not come back and stop putting my posts up at other people's blog. It is weird, uncalled for and misleading and you call this blog bizzaro? Take a look in the mirror.

2:35 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. It's not just the job. You wonder whether everything you register is being profiled and dissected, and filed away as research data, like some lab frog specimens in CSI: Crime Lab

2:37 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People, this is a social commentary. If you have something to hide from the missus, just don't register. What's the big deal?

3:04 PM, June 13, 2007  
Blogger TMink said...

Anon wrote: "This is a weird psycho-analysis blog with an even weirder shrink inducing angst in men and analyzing men's angst or how things are stacked against us men."

Anon, this place is not even that weird! There are far weirder ways of thinking and talking. You can trust me, or you can look into Rolfing, Past Life Regression, Jungian Psychoanalysis, Foucault (sp?) or the growing literature on the web concerning alien abduction. Weird city is a ways from here.

Or, maybe these topics are just upsetting to you. No crime in that! But getting upset and writing tons of posts about it is annoying and taking away from the freedom of other people who can deal with the topics and want to be here and want to be anonymous. If the topics are just too upsetting, why not come back and read some when you feel better instead of reading things that upset you. You would feel better if you read about other subjects I bet.

Or, maybe you are just upset a lot and stressed out because everything is just overwhelming. If that is so, I am sorry, that must really suck. Please call a crises line or a local mental health center and talk to someone. There are people who love to help and will listen and work with you to make things better, and there are doctors who are experts about the ways brains get ill and will know how to help.

I am not trying to offend you. I hope you feel better, and I think that one of those things would help.


3:10 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah LOL, check into Rehab or something. Take a pill. Self-medicate. Trey means well. He always does. He may not sound like the brightest bulb on the tree, but he's well meaning.

3:23 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


For Pete's sake, you don't need a license to practice anything on blogs! There aren't any malpractice or other professional responsibility - it's all for fun

3:26 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

C'mon people - Helen doesn't take herself seriously, why should you? Telling people to go call a crisis line? What is the guy going to say to the operator, someone called Trey on Dr. Helen's blog told me to call??

3:29 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like to leave anonymous comments. Back when I used to write on the wall of my room with my own poop it was smelly.

Now I post anonymous comments.

And the poop tastes better than it smells.

Also, I have sex with my cat.

3:30 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

has dr. helen advised people on mental illness on this blog? does she give out mental illness advice on this blog?

3:30 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And my dog, and the entire planetarium....ooops wrong arium....

3:32 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not mentally ill. It shows in my comments.

Also, it fills the time while my cat recovers. Got any duct tape?

3:32 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL.....or risk being called a twit by the doc herself

3:33 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In reality, I'm frisky and crispy and smitten and mitten

3:34 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i checked into this psychoanal wack and this doc is into kids violence. did you check it out and identify with this kid stuff?

3:37 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there is an option to click under other, its still anonymous, but you can specify the name you want, like mine the armchair activist.

all it takes is 10 -15 seconds to type a name, is that so hard.

but as always its up to the blog owner, if she wishes me to sign iup for googlemail, i will. its no loss, its takes a short time.

3:38 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My BFF just told me about this site and all the deep old men here. Wanna get to know some nice young women?

3:40 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You go girl, justanothercomment Luuuvvvvv those deeeeeep old men.....docky helen oks it too....she's way cool....

3:43 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, is that her real pic here? Man, she's way hot

3:45 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey y'all know where the shopping link is on the page? luuuuuvvv that cool t-shirt doc h is wearing!! Where can i buy that? My dad would luuuvvv it for father's day! i'm way behind on shopping for him!!! this site could use more emoticons, like how can you express yurself - sorta primo y'all know??

3:53 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

y'all i know what you mean - i say eat organic, all that toxic stuff turns you radio

3:56 PM, June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, there is always the Comment Moderation option, which may be the only way to make the trolls go away.

But then that option would slow down legitimate discussions substantially, not to mention add to the good doctor's work load.

Not that deleting post after post from trolls is making her life any easier.


3:57 PM, June 13, 2007  
Blogger Michele said...

This is sad. It seems as if no one needs to feed the trolls here. They were fed somewhere else I think, and if you please pardon my rude expression, it just seems like they're here to masturbate.

5:35 PM, June 13, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...


I think you are right, I have a feeling that the troll (s) have been kicked off other boards and are here by default.

5:53 PM, June 13, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

Some anonymous posters are wise, and some foolish; some compassionate, and some nasty. As it stands, when your handle is "anonymous", the best I can get on your personality is - well, rather non-specific and confusing.

11:22 PM, June 13, 2007  
Blogger Der Hahn said...

I was going to vote in favor of eliminating anonymous comments but I see you've already done it.

If some one (like me) is using an employer provided machine to comment, they are probably already leaving enough residue on that machine to enable an employer to identify their posting habits. Allowing anonymous postings provides very little additional protection. Hopefully it hasn't provided a false sense of confidence in anonymity.

I'm a bit confused by the comments about not being allowed to access a google account at work. We have pretty restrictive network access policies but I've always been able to leave comments using my google account. The account can be created from any pc with a minimum of identifing information provided. Once created, it can be used anywhere. As far as I can tell, posting using a Google account doesn't trigger access to g-mail or other mail functions of google, which are usually restricted. There are, of course, many schemes that might cause the access to be blocked. I fully understand that some might cause any google logon to be blocked. just something to think about.

11:43 PM, June 13, 2007  
Blogger The Armchair Activist said...

ok i have signed up for gmail. it took only 30 seconds if that.

of course it gives you an unlimited email account, plus 50 other invites.. which cant be bad

4:01 AM, June 14, 2007  
Blogger TMink said...

Wow. What a quiet day on the blog. There are some people I miss, and I hope they are just busy. There is the minority anon post that was good, thoughtful, or funnny that seems absent too.

But the over the top, the incoherent, the attacking, and the crudely misogynist posts (I always thought those were just bait) have disappeared. Like roachs from Raid.

I hope the regulars and the cool anons are just busy.


3:57 PM, June 14, 2007  
Blogger Kirk Parker said...

I'm with Der Hahn--rather than just accept people's assertions at face value (that they can access blogger from work but somehow that will quit working if they sign in using a Google/Blogger ID) I'd rather have someone knowledgable explain the exact mechanism whereby that could happen.

4:11 PM, June 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee, what have I missed the last few days? Been on the left coast doing a Muni job and I see some new rules.

I found this site by absolute accident back in January of this year. So I went out and turned my "handle" blue and have been posting with reckless abandon ever since.
I am as anonymous as I would be if I were to call myself anonymous - and it doesn't mix up who the anonymous br549 is with others who are just as anonymous.

It doesn't have to be blue, you know. Just a handle of your own. So as not to get mixed up.

8:25 PM, June 14, 2007  
Blogger TMink said...

Gee, I always thought you were Jr. Samples.

Color me disappointed!


9:18 PM, June 14, 2007  
Blogger Serket said...

When I first came here I used anonymous, but I knew sometimes it was confusing and it was easy to just makeup a name without registering. Eventually I started my own blog. I have never allowed anonymous comments, but very few people visit anyways. One of the main reasons I did that was so I could find other people with blogs. Since it appears you decided to go permanetly to registered users, I would like to let others know that you can register an account on blogger for posting and still keep your profile as private.

anonymous @ 1:07 pm: That part about porn and abortion was in another thread.

5:07 PM, June 15, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi tmink..

Nope. But I sure wish I had that phone number!

6:51 PM, June 15, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you'll continue to allow anonymous comments.

1:33 PM, June 19, 2007  
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